Introduction to Media, Strategies, & Methods




Related Resources

Learning Environment Design Framework
Instructional Design Toolkit

ISD Concept Map
ISD Concept Map

Instructional Media

Instructional Design — Programmed Learning

Although Sidney Pressey (1927) originated programmed learning, B. F. Skinner (1958) popularized it. Skinner's approach has been called linear in nature and involves the following features: 

Branching programmed learning is similar to linear programmed learning except that it is more complicated because it attempts to diagnose the learner's response. It usually involves a multi-choice format:

Branch and linear

After the learners have been presented a certain amount of information, they are given a multiple-choice question. If they answer correctly they branch to the next body of information. If they are incorrect, they are directed to additional information, depending on the mistake they made. Many CBT training courses are based on the concept of linear or branching programmed learning.

Programmed learning has been proven to be effective (Schramm, 1964). A review of 165 studies of programmed learning was made. Of 36 studies that compared programmed learning with the more traditional kinds of training, 17 found programmed instruction to be more effective, 18 found both kinds of instruction to be equally effective, and only one found traditional training to be more effective.


Pressey, S. L. (1927). A Machine for Automatic Teaching of Drill Material. School and Society, 25, pp. 549-52.

Schramm, W. (1964). The research on Programmed Instruction: An Annotated Bibliography. Washington D.C.: U.S. Office of Education (OE-34034), 1964.

Skinner, B. F. (1958). Teaching Machines. Science, 128, p.p. 969-77.